2021 was a record year in solar PV globally. Growth will go on.
Updated: May 18
The solar photovoltaic (PV) industry presented a record year in 2021, reaching global annual installations of 180 GWp. This was in line with the range of expectations at 117-194 GWp. Out-performance in installations was observed in multiple locations, most among solar PV leaders China, US, Japan, Germany and Australia.
China alone was responsible for 53 GWp of solar PV, mostly utility-scale but more rooftop PV than ever. European Union installed 29 GWp, dominated by distributed solar PV, top 5 countries being Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Poland and France. US growth at 27 GWp added in total was also dominated by utility-scale PV (over 80%).
The share of decentralized solar PV continued a decline for a second year in a raw due to market conditions, further plunging below 40% of the market. In 2020, the distributed PV segment (industrial, commercial and residential) was at 37% of total deployments.
In 2022, there are expectations for annual installations to top 200 GWp for the first time, with a total investment in PV to top 170 billion USD according to IHS Markit. Solar PV will continue to significantly surpass installations by other competing electricity generation technologies including both conventional coal and gas, as well as renewable wind and hydro.
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